Article

History of Hymns: ‘You Are Mine’

by Shawn Gingrich

“You Are Mine” (“I will come to you in the silence”)
by David Haas
The Faith We Sing, 2218

I will come to you in the silence,
I will lift you from all your fear,
You will hear my voice,
I claim you as my choice,
Be still, and know I am here.

I am hope for all who are hopeless,
I am eyes for all who long to see;
In the shadows of the night,
I will be your light;

Come and rest in me.

Refrain:
Do not be afraid, I am with you;
I have called you each by name.
Come and follow me,
I will bring you home,
I love you and you are mine.*

*© 1991. GIA Publications, Inc. Chicago, IL. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

David Robert Haas (b. 1957, Saginaw, Michigan) is a well-known author and composer of music for choirs and congregations. He studied vocal music performance and conducting at Central Michigan University and theology and music at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has served congregations in Michigan, Iowa, and Minnesota as parish musician and currently serves as a cantor at St. Cecilia’s Parish in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is director of the Emmaus Center for Music, Prayer, and Ministry in Eagan, Minnesota, where he resides. Haas is committed to encouraging young liturgical musicians, so he directs a summer program for high school and college-age students.

Following Vatican II (1962—1965), many writers of Roman Catholic liturgical music avoided classical hymn structures, but Haas, and others in the generation that followed, rebirthed hymnody with theologically-sound texts based on scripture in well-developed arrangements with instrumental parts and choral parts in four-part harmony in many instances (Silhavy, n.p.).

David Haas is one of three liturgical composers who formed what was informally called the “Minnesota School” of liturgical composition, all graduating from the University of St. Thomas. According to the website for GIA Publications, David Haas, Michael Joncas (b. 1951), and Marty Haugen (b. 1950) produced “some of the most popular and effective music for the Church’s worship that has appeared in the days following the Second Vatican Council” (Haas, www.giamusic.com). Recently, the three friends combined to produce a reunion compilation titled With Gratitude – Music Collection (Chicago: GIA, 2017) that includes their most widely published songs, including “You Are Mine” (CD, MP3, and print music, https://www.giamusic.com/store/resource/with-gratitude-music-collection-print-g9397). The songs on this album have played a large role in reshaping congregational song since the Second Vatican Council, both within Catholic parishes and Protestant congregations.

Though Haas is prominent as an author and composer of modern Roman Catholic liturgical music, his many popular songs have found their way into a wide variety of hymnals and songbooks. In addition to “You Are Mine,” three additional hymns that are widely sung in the ecumenical community are “Blest Are They” (The Faith We Sing, 2155), “We Are Called” (The Faith We Sing, 2172), and “Without Seeing You” (The Faith We Sing, 2206).

In 2017, The National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) conducted a hymn survey in which 3,000 participants ranked hymns. Haas’s “You Are Mine” was number four on the list.  Written in the early 1990s, this hymn, according to Hymnary.org, is now included in fourteen current hymnals across numerous denominations. The words are based on texts from Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know…”; Isaiah 43:1b, “Do not fear…you are mine”; and John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (NIV*). The hymn’s text is written in God’s voice, assuring, comforting, and encouraging – “I am with you,” “Come and rest in me,” and “I love you and you are mine.” The themes of this hymn are God’s care, strength in troubling times, baptism, and confirmation. “’You Are Mine’ is a reminder that no matter where we are and how low we may feel, God is always there, calling to us, and inviting us to follow” (The Faith We Sing: Worship Planner, 55).

The hymn first appeared in the composer’s collection (also on CD), Who Calls You by Name: Music for Christian Initiation (Chicago: 1988-1991). This gives some clues as to the liturgical intent of the song. Though hymnologist and hymnwriter Carl P. Daw, Jr. finds the scriptural allusions to be ambiguous, he adds a helpful note in understanding the song’s meaning:

As it seems initially to have been conceived, the present song was a corporate affirmation for newly baptized persons that they now belonged to the body of Christ, which could be construed as a reasonable extension of the verse in Isaiah [43:1b]. But because of the ambiguity of the word “you” in modern English, this song can also be understood in an individualistic rather than a corporate way. In John 14:18b, for example, Jesus does say something very close to the opening line, “I will come to you” (translations vary), but the context makes clear that he is speaking to all the disciples, not to an individual. In modern English, the singular is taken as the default intention if the plural is not specified, allowing this song to be appropriated as a personal assurance rather than one shared with a community (Daw, 181-182).

Original intent and context notwithstanding, Haas indicated in an email to Lutheran hymnologist Paul Westermeyer that “this song has been very popular for celebrations of reconciliation and forgiveness, especially at healing services and funerals” (Westermeyer, 419). Indeed, once a hymn is released to the community, singers find meanings and uses beyond the composer’s original purpose. Hymns of quality often invite a wider range of meaning because of the richness of their texts.

Haas has composed a memorable and easily learned refrain that may be extracted for use as a response in worship, which is a great way to introduce this hymn. The original choral octavo published by GIA Publications, Inc. in 1991 (G-3656) is written for two-part choir, congregation, guitar, treble C instrument, cello or bassoon, and keyboard. In The Faith We Sing (2218), the melody appears in unison in the congregation edition; but in the singer’s edition, Haas’s harmony for the refrain appears. The key of the hymnal edition matches the octavo, so that Haas’s harmony at the end of the fourth stanza and the instrumental parts could easily be added by combining both sources.

This hymn will continue to be a source of hope in an unpredictable world – “I am the peace the world cannot give” (stanza 4) and a source of strength for those in turmoil – “I am the strength for all the despairing” (stanza 3).

Among the awards received by David Haas is the Outstanding Professional Book Award from the Catholic Press Association (2003) for his book, The Ministry and Mission of Sung Prayer (St. Anthony Messenger Press). He, Michael Joncas, and Marty Haugen were honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award (1995) from their alma mater, the University of St. Thomas. The National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) named him Pastoral Musician of the Year (2004), and he received the Emmaus Award for Excellence in Catechesis from the National Catholic Education Association (2014). The University of Portland (Oregon) awarded him the Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters (2015). In 2019, he founded and maintains a Facebook website, “Order of Baptized Franciscans” in which he shares insights from the life and ministry of St. Francis of Assisi.

Sources and Further Reading:

Carl P. Daw, Jr., Glory to God: A Companion (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2013).

David Haas, Artist Biography, https://www.giamusic.com/store/artists/david-haas.

_____. Music Ministry Alive, http://www.musicministryalive.com/from-the-director.

_____. The Emmaus Center for Music, Prayer & Ministry: http://www.davidhaas.us/welcome-to-this-website/.

Michael Silhavy, "David Robert Haas." The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology. Canterbury Press, accessed May 24, 2019, http://www.hymnology.co.uk/d/david-robert-haas.

The Faith We Sing: Worship Planner (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000).

Paul Westermeyer, Hymnal Companion: Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2010).


*Verses marked NIV are from the New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Shawn Gingrich is director of music ministries, First United Methodist Church, Hershey, Pennsylvania. His undergraduate degrees are from Lebanon Valley College; he received a Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College, and the Doctor of Worship Studies from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. He is also an adjunct instructor at Messiah College, artistic director of Hershey Handbell Ensemble, and president of the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts (2017-2019).

Categories: History of Hymns, Hymnals By Name, The Faith We Sing